Cannabis being decriminalized in California has resulted in a reduction in crime, drug overdoses, driving under the influence, suicides and school dropouts among teenagers, according to a study released by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ).
According to the study, California saw a 22% reduction in school dropouts among teenagers two years after they decriminalized the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, which occurred in 2010. There was also a 20% reduction in drug overdose deaths (despite their being a 4% overall increase in overdose deaths in the U.S. during the same period), and an over 10% decrease in suicides. Overall, criminal arrests among teenagers went down a total of 30%.
For the study, researchers compared “five states that implemented major marijuana reforms over the last five years, evaluating the reforms’ impacts on marijuana arrests, racial disparities, and various health and safety outcomes.” Those states are California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, Colorado and Washington.
According to the study; “All five states experienced substantial declines in marijuana possession arrests. The four states with available data also showed unexpected drops in marijuana felony arrests.” Researchers note that in California, decriminalization “has not resulted in harmful consequences for teenagers, such as increased crime, drug overdose, driving under the influence, or school dropout. In fact, California teenagers showed improvements in all risk areas after reform.”
The study – which can be found by clicking here – concludes; “Given the consequences of marijuana arrest, including fines, jail time, a criminal record, loss of student loans and other federal aid, and court costs, getting arrested for marijuana use may be more harmful than the drug itself — at any age. The report recommends adopting the best of both approaches and moving toward full legalization. Further reforms, beyond marijuana policies, will be necessary to address egregious and persistent racial disparities.”